“The Obsidian Mirror” – Can The Chronoptika Series Live Up To “Incarceron”?

Book Review: The Obsidian Mirror
By Catherine Fisher

Spoiler Alert!

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Jake’s father disappears while working on mysterious experiments with the obsessive, reclusive Oberon Venn. Jake is convinced Venn has murdered him. But the truth he finds at the snow-bound Wintercombe Abbey is far stranger … The experiments concerned a black mirror, which is a portal to both the past and the future. Venn is not alone in wanting to use its powers. Strangers begin gathering in and around Venn’s estate: Sarah – a runaway, who appears out of nowhere and is clearly not what she says, Maskelyne – who claims the mirror was stolen from him in some past century. There are others, a product of the mirror’s power to twist time. And a tribe of elemental beings surround this isolated estate, fey, cold, untrustworthy, and filled with hate for humans. But of them all, Jake is hell-bent on using the mirror to get to the truth. Whatever the cost, he must learn what really happened to his father.
(Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

My first impression of The Obsidian Mirror came from the back cover which states,

     I dream of the scarred man. He comes and stands at the foot of my bed, and he is half angel, half demon. He says, “Don’t try to use the mirror. The mirror will possess you. The mirror will devour your soul.”
He is too late. I have already discovered that.
My house is a fortress, locked and bolted and barred. But ghosts and phantoms flicker here, in polished surfaces, in glass and crystal.
And someone is watching every move I make.

If this was all I had read I probably would have put it back on the shelf, but because I had read Catherine Fisher’s Incarceron I decided I had better give it a try despite the back cover.

Fisher combines ideas in new and fascinating ways. I found myself intrigued with the layers of story and ideas. I felt like I was twisting my head around to catch where the next thread would jump into the storyline making the previous threads more coherent. By the end of the novel I was reaching for the next, but I was also questioning if I really liked it.

I sent this book to my mother to get her impression and she said the same thing. She couldn’t quit reading, but she wasn’t sure if she liked it. She reported she finished the book at 2am and said, “Well, I must have liked it after all.”

The main spoilers and threads through the novel:

-The Shee, fairy people who are not necessarily friendly.
-Replicants, self made clones of people.
-Seven cats, ? I have some ideas, but not perfected.
-Evil dictator of the future, of course.
-A secret organization set out to destroy the power source of evil dictator.
-An ancient mirror with time travel abilities, possibly powered    by desire more than anything else.
-A man with a scar and Rachel
-A lost or murdered father
-A school teacher trying to keep a student safe

And there are more things to ponder.

Book Review: The Slanted Worlds

Be on alert there will be more spoilers in this review.

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Part Dr. Who, part Blade Runner, and part A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this genre-busting fantasy from the author of Incarceron asks: If you had the chance to change the past, would you do it?

In book two of the critically acclaimed Obsidian Mirror series, New York Times bestselling author Catherine Fisher, called “the first lady of British fantasy” by the London Times, once again shows us that she is a master of world-building and surprising plot-twists. Jake, Sarah, and Oberon Venn continue their fight for control of the Obsidian Mirror, and whoever wins will either save a life, change the past, or rescue the future.
But the Mirror has plans of its own. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

The Slanted Mirror picks up directly and lands Jake in WWII in England during the Blitz. This is my first problem, I think time travel, and particularly WWII is overdone. I would have liked something different. The second novel does answer enough questions that the reader feels connected, such as, where Jake’s father has been lost. We also see Sarah wising up a bit and Gideon is taken advantage of again, the poor blighted changeling. There is no good ending in store for Oberon. I was a little worried that the multiple sources of characters wouldn’t pull together, but I feel a great hope that Fisher will pull it all together by the end.

After discussing these two novels with my teen daughter she pointed out why I was having such a problem with the books. So here is my second problem, even though the world is creative and interesting I am not feeling connected to any of the characters. I even had a hard time remembering who was who while I read.

In summary, I don’t think the Chronoptika series is living up to Incarceron because of character development and empathy. However, this is not a typical second novel in a trilogy that falls flat. It adds depth to the story and quickly moves along. I will finish the series when it is written because I am interested in the where, why and how of the novel, but not the who.

3.5 out of 5 stars

– the Mother

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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